Friday, 15 February 2013

Speechless


Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Paperback

Expected Publication: February 2013 by Mira Ink

My shelves: arc-or-review, books-i-own, contemporary, lgbt-characters, lgbt-maintheme, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction, really-good, title-appeal, young-adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.


When I read Hannah Harrington's debut novel, I was left wanting more. When I heard about Speechless, I knew it would be a certain hit with me - the premise is refreshing and it's interesting. The storyline, teamed up with Harrington's clear talent for writing was bound to be a success with me - and I'm very glad to say that it was. 

Our protagonist is Chelsea Knot, a girl who decides to take an oath of silence after making a comment to people at a party, a comment which results in one boy being severely beaten due to his sexuality. Though Chelsea is our main character, we get to learn a lot about the people around her too - something that may not have been so easy if  Chelsea hadn't remained silent. I wasn't too sure how the whole book would work out, what with Chelsea being silent, but it worked out very well - there was no lack of communication with others - simply seeing how others communicated and reading Chelsea's internal monologue was enough - it was a very fascinating and interesting change which certainly made you think about the power of speech. 

I will say that I didn't like Chelsea much to begin with, and I don't think many people would particularly like her on paper, despite her representing so many high schoolers in society today. She was a popular girl who didn't really think before she spoke, mainly interested in the next source of gossip. Throughout the book, we see her develop into a much more mindful and more aware character - aware of herself and of the people around her. I admired Chelsea's vow and it did seem to have a worthwhile impact on the people around her, too. Chelsea, thankfully, realistically develops into a much more considerate character and a much more likeable one too - she is quite a gritty character underneath it all and I liked that side of her. She was much more easy to empathise with and a person that I would want to relate to. I truly enjoyed her transformation.

I loved the secondary characters in this book, as Chelsea befriended Asha and Sam, so did we - we learnt about them at her. Asha and Sam are two pretty average students at the school, but that's not a criticism - they seemed very real.  The friendship that the group formed was remarkable, probably one of the best friendships I have read about, again it was just so authentic. The romance between Chelsea and Sam was just sweet enough, Sam is such a beautiful book boyfriend.

This book brings an important issue to attention and deals with it very well. I love reading about LGBT topics, so this part of the book really interested me, and alongside the rest of the contemporary story, it made for a very fascinating and enjoyable read. Like Saving June, this is a highly recommended book and once again, I can't wait to see what Harrington brings out next!

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad you liked it! I felt alot of similar stuff when I read the book!
    I think Chelsea wasn't very nice or likable at first, but in the end she wasn't too bad. I liked the secondary characters too.

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  2. I really enjoyed Speechless, I finished it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was really well done. I liked that even though Chelsea wasn't speaking for most of it, the story still felt rounded out and not like you were just waiting for her to start talking again. I think Harrington did really well with the character of Chelsea, to make her so unlikable at the beginning, yet by the end I had warmed to her a lot. (And I agree wholeheartedly about Sam!) Great review!

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  3. I really enjoyed the character development in this. And ohmygosh Sam-cuteness cuteness cuteness. Glad to see you enjoyed Speechless :)

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